Calling the lawyer at 3 in the morning every other week because your teenager got involved in a car accident (yet again), is not an admirable scenario. This can be fatal in the long run. 

You may have probably lost more sleep than any people worrying about car accidents that your teenagers might get into. You should not blame yourself for paying for the license and the car. 

When you give them the car keys, do not bid farewell to control. They must understand the responsibilities that go with that new kind of freedom. Create a teenage driving contract with defined rules. 

These seven commandments for teenage safe driving will instill the sense of responsibility that comes with the privilege of having a car (and might also improve your sleeping habits). 

Commandment #1: If you can’t resist texting, turn your cellphone off. Minimize distractions when driving as much as possible. Teenagers could not keep their hands off their smartphones. Have them turn off their phones and gadgets while on the road. 

If they are expecting important an important message, provide them with a wireless headset so they could still make or take a call without taking their hands off the steering wheel and eyes on the traffic. 

Commandment #2: No after-party driving. No drunk driving.  Aside from setting a curfew, teenagers should not be allowed to drive whenever they go to late-night parties. Drop them off and pick them up after. Drunk driving, even for adults, is not safe. 

Tiredness and fatigue can also be a contributor too poor driving judgment, especially for inexperienced teenagers. You must also watch out for signs of alcohol and drugs whenever they come home. 

Commandment #3: Practice defensive driving.  Staying one car distance behind the car in front of you is a good practice for neophyte teenage drivers. They must also drive in slower speeds. If they want to pick up the rate, they must maintain a fairly large buffer zone. 

Commandment #4: Obey speed limits.  Nearly half of car accidents that teenager get into nowadays are linked to beating speed limits. The youngsters tend to be carefree and go beyond what is just necessary.  Every ticket for speed limit violations should be equivalent to one month of going back to public commuting. 

Commandment #5: Drive solo.  After building up certain months of guided driving experience, teenagers can now be independent. However, this does not necessarily mean that they can already have passengers, even dogs.  Until such time that they become responsible of their own lives, teenagers should drive solo.  This rule is also tantamount to saying “no carpool” yet. 

Commandment #6: Get to know thy car.  Teenagers will not pass the licensing evaluation if they don’t know the basics of driving. But, they must also get acquainted to the car that they will be using in the next two to three years.  Teenagers won’t have any problem getting accustomed to using a smart or connected car. They must learn the capacity of the vehicle, what to do when tires blow up or engines fail them in the middle of the road, what kind of fuel the car is compatible with and more.  

 Commandment #7: Pay proper dues.  Inculcate sense of responsibility and accountability early in the game. Make them pay for car damages or insurance costs whenever they get involved  in minor accidents or sanctioned for violating traffic rules. Deduct the entire cost from their regular allowance.

Parents will play the biggest part in ensuring that their teens will turn out to be safe drivers in the near future. What to do? 

  •        Provide a safe car for teens – easy to maneuver, good tires and with air bags
  •        Determine which car/s are allowed for your teens to drive
  •        Provide “passenger seat” supervision even if they don’t want to
  •        Give your teens gentle critique of their driving
  •        Set a good example – this is the most important of all 

Picking up from the last bullet, parents will have to make sure that they practice what they preach. If you beat the red signal, run 75 MPH, weave in and out of traffic, scream at other drivers, tailgate and show signs of road rage – do not expect the young fellas to be safe drivers. Avoid showing them the rules that don’t count. 

Your Thoughts Matter

Have you been involved in car accidents when you were a teenager? What driving lessons have you imparted to your kids so far?  Let’s create a safer driving environment for the young ones. Share with us your experience and stories. 

About the Author: 

A seasoned blogger and educator, Adam Prattler shares anything and everything that matter at the moment. He makes the public aware of local current events, prevalence of automobile accident in St. Petersburg, political milestones and latest technological innovations.  

Photos from State Farm Insurance